The other day a dear friend told me, “You are really vulnerable right now. Huge transitions. That is when this stuff comes up.”
Just hearing the words “You are really vulnerable right now” was enough to allow some softening inside. Oh yeah. I am.
There are so many meanings behind vulnerable. It can be as simple as going out without makeup on, it can be telling a truth that feels uncomfortable, it can be as intense as finding yourself totally incapacitated and needing to rely on others for basic care. There are so many layers of vulnerability.
This week I’ve found myself on the more intense side of things. Sitting in the passenger seat as my mother drives me to the hospital, lying unconscious on an operating room table, trusting a surgeon to safely remove a cyst from my ovary, recovering at home and relying on family members to take care of me. Total vulnerability, at its finest.
I was worried about this, pre-surgery. Really worried. As my mother and I walked into the waiting room where I’d declare myself arrived and ready for surgery, where I’d be led to a small changing room to strip down, donning scrub pants and a flimsy gown and a striped robe and non-skid socks, where we’d see OR team member after another, where we’d wait for hours nervously before carrying on with the actual thing…..as we walked into that waiting room, I turned to my mother and said, “Let’s just turn around. It’s not too late. We don’t have to do this. We can just run off somewhere and I’ll be a surgery no-show. Please?” Nerves, nerves, nerves.
But, I did go through with the procedure and before long I found myself tucked into bed at home that night, albeit in pain and lots of discomfort.
And suddenly the vulnerability felt a little easier. I was helped in and out of bed. I was brought food. I had full access to straws and trays and as many pillows as I wanted. It felt good. Suddenly I was given the space to unravel to just a little bit, to get down to the core of me, to access so many other ages of myself that were coming up for healing, too.
I felt layers peel away. Suddenly I was 12, 15, 18. Huge ages of vulnerability for me, that weren’t necessarily met with as much care and support as I was receiving in my current 25-year-old self. It was uncomfortable, so uncomfortable, and still sort of is, as I navigate the present world while still having all these gaping wide versions of myself peeking out.
Raw, real, open, wanting.
Vulnerability, where the healing happens.